Holiday pleasures that don’t cost a thing.

Image from Pinterest

  •  Snow, even the tiniest bit
  • Watching families greet each other at the airport.
  • Seeing the neighbors go for broke with their Christmas lights.
  • The taste of hot chocolate … with peppermint marshmallows!
  • A long overdue catchup session with your BFF.
  • Ugly Christmas sweaters.
  • The smell of evergreens as you walk by trees for sale.
  • Streetlights wrapped in twinkling lights.
  • Seeing everyone you love in the same room.
  • Choosing who gets to lick the spoon.
  • Tying a perfect (or not-so-perfect) bow!
  • Finding the perfect gift.
  • Take-out and a movie on Christmas Eve.
  • Realizing your mittens are warm enough.
  • Making a resolution—and meaning it.
  • Doggie Christmas sweaters.
  • The Pandora Jazz Holiday station
  • Recycled gift wrap from last year.
  • A favorite holiday mug.
  • Making a loved one’s favorite recipe.
  • Watching Christmas movies that you’ve seen a hundred times already.
  • An evening spent with all the lights off, curled up under the Christmas tree.

What would you add to this list??

(Some items on this list found here.)

Ode to Anthropologie.

It is no secret that I.  LOVE.  ANTHROPOLOGIE.

I tell people time and again that mainly I just love going into the store and looking at how they’ve displayed and styled things and what all I can turn into a fun DIY.  Of course, I also like shopping there too but since they tend to be pretty spendy, I try to buy things on sale.  (You know, because I can’t see spending $188 on a pair of lounge pants tend to be cheap.)

I went to Anthropologie at Saddle Creek in Germantown, TN on Thursday evening to finish up a bit of Christmas shopping (some of you will be quite happy!)  I saw several displays that I really loved, including a tree hanging upside down from the ceiling, decorated and all.  I only got two pictures of things I liked though and want to share them here.

First up… PLASTIC SPOONS!

This is nothing more than a styrofoam ball painted a pale gray and then covered in run-of-the-mill clear plastic spoons.  How cute is that?

Next up are little winter scenes made out of old jars and salt shakers.  Again, all there is to this is fake snow, a tiny tree and a jar.  Voila!  And they were selling these for $18 a pop.  Uh… yeah.  Even so, super cute and totally DIY-able.

(Forgive the crappy pictures… They were taken on my not-so-smart phone.)

They also had stacks of old Reader’s Digest books with belts around them and they looked really cute.  I have two lots of old Reader’s Digest books in my store, here and here.

They also had clever things like plain old vases painted bright colors, ordinary clear holiday balls with a bit of fake snow grouped together to hang from the ceiling, and plenty of stuff that I can’t remember.

It is like a playground for all the senses to go in there.  I absolutely love it.

Now, for a couple of items from Anthro that I don’t like to be without. My favorite, most-purchased items from Anthropologie are the Voluspa Candles, specifically the Santiago Huckleberry.  They smell amazing and really fill my house with a great aroma, even when they aren’t burning!  They are three-wick, in beautiful tins and really last a long time.  They make amazing gifts too.  This time, however, I branched out and bought a candle I’ve been tempted by many times when in the store: the Capri Blue Volcano candle in the mercury jar.  So beautiful!  I’ve not burned it yet but it too smells great just sitting around, not burning.  The sign of a good candle.  I also got a holiday candle – the Winter Sips Mulled Cider.  The clerk swore by this candle, saying she had bought up five of them to have on hand and they had already sold out once this season and had to be reordered.  So, I had to get one.  I’ve not burned it yet but plan to today.  I think I’m going to like it a lot.

I also bought something at my last visit to Anthropologie that will be a staple from now on.  I love it so much!  Wow!  It is… drumroll please… the Smith’s Minted Rosebud Salve.  I had been using Burt’s Bees lip balm but it really quit working as well as I would like.  I’ve heard good things about this rosebud salve before so I got some.  Love love love it.  Works perfectly, smells divine and comes in the cutest tin.  I highly recommend it!

I also love their Monogrammed Mugs for gifts… they are perfect!  I have one myself and it is one of my favorite mugs.  They are very reasonable at $6 each too.  Can’t beat that!

So, clearly, I love Anthropologie.  I also think it did a bit toward getting me into the Christmas spirit this year.  A little bit anyway.  And for that I’m thankful.

In other holiday-related news, this is my new favorite Christmas song.  Love love!!

 

(This post had 666 words in it exactly so I had to go back and add this sentence to correct that situation.  Yes, I’m totally superstitious.)

Killer Kale Salad.

I had the best salad tonight.  So so simple but absolutely killer.  And that’s why I call it the “Killer Kale Salad.”  :)

Killer Kale Salad

Kale – torn into large pieces and rinsed
One very ripe avocado – smashed
TBS vegan worcestershire sauce
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Spices of choice – I used turmeric, garlic powder and s/p
Pecans
Chinese crispy noodles

Whisk together the smashed avocado, worcestershire sauce, evoo, vinegar and spices.  Add a bit of water if too thick.  
Toss together with kale, pecans and noodles.

Enjoy!

This was really so good and so easy to throw together.  It hit the spot!

Now, about my recent Thanksgiving post.  It came to my attention that my Quorn might not be vegan and, upon conducting some research, I fear that it was in fact not vegan.  It contains egg products. 

Le sigh…

I am a bit disappointed by this, sure, but I’m still very proud of the overall effort of my vegan Thanksgiving meal.  A good vegan friend of mine, for whom I have a lot of respect, recently told me that there is no such thing as a “perfect vegan”.  (And really, there is no such thing as a perfect human anything!)  I agree with this.  There’s always the chance that there will be something non-vegan to sneak in or that is overlooked or that I simply don’t know is not vegan, like the Quorn.  The point is, and what I’m the most concerned about, is the intention that I put into my food, into what I eat, into being vegan and that I do the best I can.

And I know that my intention is good.  And I’m doing the best I can.  And I’m learning each and everyday.  And I’m proud of that.

And Quorn is off the list.  :)

My first vegan Thanksgiving.

Although I’ve been vegetarian for a good long while, I only went “whole hog” (bad pun) at the start of 2011.  So then, this was my first vegan Thanksgiving.

And it was DELICIOUS!!!

Everything on that plate is vegan.  Do you have any idea how happy that makes me?  Oh yes, VERY happy!  This is what I had:

Quorn roast w/ potatoes, black sweet potatoes, carrots & asparagus
Spiced beets
Mushroom gravy (recipe here)
Green beans
Mashed potatoes (with more gravy!)
Brussel sprout salad with endive, persimmons and pecans
Fresh cranberry sauce
And the best vegan dressing ever thanks to my wonderful Mom! ♥

I also made a pumpkin pie (recipe here) but I burned the crust which really didn’t do favors for the end result.  Oh well… I had coffee instead.  Mmmm.

So, (my first vegan) Thanksgiving was a great success!  A great time was had by all (except my cat who wasn’t happy at all to be away from home … c’est la vie.)

In other food-related news, I’m very glad that Cuties are in stores again.  I love them!

So, now that Thanksgiving is over, I guess it is on to Christmas, right?  Just 26 days away, folks!  Are you ready?

Thankful.

I try to be thankful everyday but this day has been set aside as a particular day of thanks so I will go with it.  And, as so many others are doing or have done, I will jump on the bandwagon of making a list of things I’m thankful for.  Because, it is just a good, fun thing to do.

  • My family.  All of my family. 
  • My amazing friends.  They are the family I chose for myself and, I have to say, I did a pretty darn good job.  
  • My furchildren.  My daily companions that fill my life with joy, happiness, love, kisses and the unexpected.
  • My house.  My little haven that is packed with everything I love the most.
  • Being vegan.  The best thing I’ve ever done in my life and a constant source of pride and delight (and delicious food!)
  • My health.  Never to be taken for granted.
  • Five senses that work well each and everyday and allow me to appreciate the joys of this amazing world.
  • My sixth sense that also works remarkably well!
  • Classic literature to read.
  • Jazz music to listen to.
  • Warm houseshoes.
  • Saying “I love you.”  Often.  And meaning it.
  • Hearing “I love you.”  Often.  And knowing it is truly meant.
  • New Year’s Resolutions to look forward to.
  • My journal.
  • Candles.
  • Coffee.
  • Text messaging.
  • Pinterest and Etsy.
  • Goodwill and Salvation Army.
  • A job.  Income. 
  • The Universe always providing.
  • Sleep.  In a cloud-like bed.

… Mostly I’m thankful for so many things to be thankful for that it would be impossible to list them all!  (Get all that?  :))

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!